Sweaty, tired feet, exhausted but determined. I lie in the direct reach of my air conditioner, my apartment is pretty muggy and hot. I roasted a whole chicken tonight, rubbed in delicious Pakistani spices. I boiled 3 lb of chicken breast for myself for the week. I portioned the food out in to little containers, my butchery skills definitely need some work.
I follow this influential Instagram account. I like the lady that runs it – she seems real and talks about things in an earnest, hopeful way. I hope her weight loss journey is not a result of going under a knife on the surgeons table. You can never tell these days. But she said something important once which I love – “when it comes to your food and diet, failing to plan is planning to fail.”
So I’m planning all my meals, and for the first time in my life, I’m actually putting myself first. It only took twenty eight years. Just writing about this topic gives me anxiety. I never like to talk about it, it is painful. It reminds me of that one time an ex of mine compared me to his sisters friends’ photo on Facebook, pointing to it saying : “why can’t you look more like her?” Or another time when another ex told me he imagines I’m someone else when he has sex with me. Or perhaps that one time the guy I really liked told me a relationship is not in the books for us because he can’t be with someone who doesn’t “take care of herself”, that women should be strictly under 140 lb before they have children, or maybe another time when an ex I regretfully stayed friends with told me that I can’t get the kind of guy I’m looking for if I don’t lose weight. All of them profusely apologized afterwards, saying they said it on purpose to hurt my feelings or they didn’t mean it “like that” but let’s be real and not kid ourselves here – We all know there was a purpose to all of it.
You get the gist. There is a lot of pain for me surrounding this topic. Growing up my mother mercilessly ridiculed, taunted and criticized the living daylights out of my figure, my growing breasts and general body. I was 120 lb, in wonderful shape but I wasn’t a size 0 like all other girls around me were. So I was “FAT” by Pakistani grade school standards and I think for all these years that label has stuck, and only reinforced over time.
Being disciplined with myself for the last two weeks and seeing myself 5 lb down the scale (and many more to go), I have finally realized that I don’t have to be stuck with that label for life. I finally learned to respect myself, respect my body and know that my worth is far beyond the scope of my physical appearance, unlike every single man I’ve dated would want me to believe.
In the past week I have noticed a pattern in my life that is scarring, and eye opening. I get with men who generally run on the insecure and inferior side. All the men I have dated were inferior to me in at least one or more category – they were either huge FOBs trying to fit in to a younger college crowd, far less successful and well to do than me in terms of career, independence and finances or far less good looking than me. In order to gain the upper hand in relationships with me they picked on the one single insecurity I had and ran with it – my weight.
I am hopelessly romantic, and Im not gonna lie – in the past and even to this day I spent a lot of my precious time working hard to gain affection and give love to men who all the while felt they were in constant competition with me. Telling me I’m not in the shape that’s ideal isn’t a way for any guy to “look out” for me. Are you fucking kidding me? Get out of here if you buy that bullshit on any day. What is he, my dad? When a guy tells me I’m fat, It’s a way to put me down using the only thing I am deeply sensitive and worried about, so I ignore the blatant fact about how much better than him I am in literally every other category of life. Because let’s be real- if I was so unacceptably fat, they wouldn’t be around me. Nobody hangs around a grotesque unappealing creature willingly.
By establishing the dynamic where I’m fat enough to not be considered perfect and amazing in their eyes, but thin enough to stay in a relationship with, all these men have successfully created a constant, living hell hole for me. A constant stream of body image insecurity that they can pull out any time they feel I’m getting ahead of them or have the upper hand in the relationship. He’s having a bad day? He’s gonna point out Reema’s hump behind her neck. You get the idea.
One major realization I had in the past few days is that I don’t have to be with men who use my insecurities against me. I don’t have to date them, I don’t have to be friends with them, listen to them be short and bitchy with me, or constantly bicker with me about little shitty things.
I don’t even wanna date until I tackle this insecurity of mine. Forget about dating, I don’t even wanna fuck a guy till I feel 100% in physical form. As a girl who barely has 30 lb to lose, this weight loss journey is not a long one either. It’s not like I’m morbidly obese and need clinical help. The last few weeks prove anything but! All I need is ample sleep – going to bed at 10 pm, good food (hello, meal prep) and to be surrounded by positive people (goodbye, men). I am almost angry at myself after realizing how fucking easy a fix it is to this insecurity of mine. I am angry that it takes so little for me to feel so great about myself and to feel a physical difference in my body. It took so little to fit in the jeans I used to wear in college. It took such a small, mindful effort to stock up on supplements good for my body.
When I come out of the other end of this, I will be a force to reckon with, and I will never ever look back at any of the men who talked down to me and made me feel less than I deserve to feel. Perhaps I may even date again, this time a guy who doesn’t play mind games with me; someone who deserves the fucking best of me. Watch out, fuckers. Who do you think you’re calling fat now?